Sat. Meeting Take-Home Message

The point made by Charles was insightful and prescriptive: don't invite new attendees to the business segment, invite them to a structured issues discussion.

Warm regards, Michael

My own two cents: I have always felt that our tradition of inviting people to our business meeting was not an effective endeavor. Charles was the first guest that told us like it is, "This is an inside ballgame!" Obviously, we have not been making that clear in our announcements.

The alternatives, however, in my opinion are not as clear. When do we have these discussions? Would the activists who are interested in focusing on the business of LPSF(planning and carrying out the plans)be interested in attending the discussions? (I personally would not). Aubrey believes (and so do I) that our action items would decrease if we decrease our face to face meeting time -- how can we remedy that?

The other Charles also made an insightful comment. He said he felt pressured by the LPSF to join, and did not like that. I understand his sentiment. Some folks may drop in out of curiosity, or to introduce their business or their own cause. Maybe best we can do is to show an interest as to why then came, make them feel welcome, and offer them a simple brochure summarizing who we are (including no more than a sentence about membership). If they are comfortable with us they will keep in touch, and even become a member or offer a contribution.

If the Activist List would return to its original planning purpose, freeing up 45 minutes to an hour of meeting time to devote to structured discussion and/or guest speakers, that might work. I would additionally suggest discontinuing the after-meeting social as an official part of the monthly gathering, given that most meeting attendees do not stay for the social. Maybe we could use this subject as a test of whether on-line discussion is a possibility, especially, since this interesting subject has been taking so much time away from all the other items on the agenda!

My last two cents are that any change to the meeting structure is up to Aubrey's willingness to try it. Changing the meeting structure against his feeling perfectly comfortable with the change, to one that was not in place when he accepted the position of Chair would not be proper.


Dear Marcy,

I agree with all you say. I particularly like your idea of
experimenting with different approaches.

You know the old maxim: "Doing what you've always done while expecting
different results is a guarantee of failure" (or something to this

Aubrey: Marcy and others have suggested possible changes. Since using
the same meeting format we've been using for the past 14 years is
failing to keep new attendees, do you agree experimenting with new
formats makes sense?

Warm regards, Michael

To reiterate: changes only if Aubrey wants them, as I say at the end of my email. Also one of the changes might be for core activists to focus on "doing", and forget about new folks attending the "doing" meetings. If folks like our efforts they will support us in other ways besides meeting attendance.


Hi Marcy, Michael, Les, and All! I'm open to most anything, and I don't object to trying something different. In fact, I was one of two people who voted to try our meetings at the Thai restaurant. We've wrestled with this question for some time, and I have no easy answers. While it would be nice to have more folks attend our meetings, the shortage of activists is the real problem. There have been several events already where I've been the only person who represented us. This doesn't make the LPSF look so good, but even one representative is better than none, so I do it. As Les pointed out, the problem of the lack of "doer's" isn't unique to the LPSF--with his homeowners' association, almost 400 folks, and hard to get anyone on the board to conduct business. Even the Ron Paul crowd that I worked with for most of this year--a bunch of doer's if ever I met any--in February we were 50 strong at the monthly meeting, but by the end of the
campaign, there were probably just 10 of us doing the actual canvassing and tabling. Lots of talk--and, sadly, not so much action.

As for the two Charles's at Saturday's meeting, there was nothing wrong with Marcy's announcement, because she is now very clear when she spells out business meeting (the hard part) and social part (fun part). The two Charles's found out about the meeting from my email exchanges with Mimi Steel, so they did not see the regular announcement that gets posted. Neither Charles was that enthralled by Libertarians to begin with, so I don't think there was that much that we could have done to get them to come back anyway.

Different format? I've tried to make our meetings interesting as well as getting work done. I've had two speakers, and I thought those meetings were more lively than ones without speakers, but that didn't bring the new people who attended those meetings back anyway. As Marcy said, those guests who attend our meetings tend to be mostly only moderately interested to begin with, so how can we expect to wow them just like that. We have had guests that returned again, and I did have high hopes for two recently (Mike Minton and Chris Cook) as possible real activists, but sadly that did not materialize. At this point, I would say better to just get back to work and concentrate on getting our message out there and letting the outside world know that we're still working on spreading the good word of freedom, rather than obsessing on why we're so small. The next meeting is going to be all about the ballot measures--which I consider of the highest
priority and one of the best ways to show our stuff--and I'm not planning to have much else on the menu. I still think we should welcome guests to our meetings and make them feel at home as possible, but let's not compromise the work that needs to be done just to please casual passers-by.

To be honest, I'm not too keen to have all or most of the nuts-and-bolts business take place online rather than face-to-face. I hate the prospect of dealing with a large number of emails after a long day at work, and I frequently don't go online at home for days. Furthermore, just as in the business world, I find it easier to just walk over to someone's desk and work out a problem verbally rather than the endless back-and-forth of emails. Faced with online or just a small meeting of activists, I would rather meet in person. However, to find one or two more good activists, I would not only do it all online--I would stand on my head and spit nickels!

I will give this more thought and also welcome all or new ideas. If you want speakers (which I enjoy having anyway), please help to find some good ones willing to come to our small group. I really wanted that Agenda 21 lady Rosa Koire to come speak to us, but she felt our group was too small to schlepp out all the way from Santa Rosa.